Aug 052010

August 5 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan

“Jeff Lurie says he deals in “the facts” when it comes to Michael Vick’s birthday bash at the OK Corral, and that’s fine. It just makes you wonder why he doesn’t seem that concerned with knowing the facts, let alone sharing those facts with the people who support his team.

The Eagles owner said Wednesday he didn’t know “whatsoever” whether Vick violated terms of his release from prison by interacting with his old dogfighting pal Quanis Phillips on the night that ended with Phillips’ getting shot in the leg.

“The people that did the investigations, they know the facts,” Lurie said. “So we base it on them. We’re not the experts.”

Lurie cited “four independent investigations” that uncovered no evidence that Vick was involved in the shooting – one by Virginia police, one by the Eagles, one by the NFL, and one by authorities supervising Vick’s conditional release from prison. But what do we know about any of those investigations?

A few days ago, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White told the Associated Press that he had not been contacted by police or NFL representatives about what happened that night. White, a former teammate of Vick’s, was at the party and said he left about the same time Vick did. But none of these crack investigators thought he was worth talking to?

No charges were filed because Phillips won’t cooperate with authorities and most of the other guests are observing a code of silence. That isn’t exactly a resounding testament to a “lack of wrongdoing” by Vick. Even if he didn’t pull the trigger – and police say he didn’t – there is reportedly video showing Vick in an altercation with Phillips minutes before the shooting. It might be worth knowing what was said, and to whom, in those minutes.

It was Lurie, remember, who said he approved the signing of Vick last summer only after agonized soul-searching. It was Lurie who said Vick’s employment with the Eagles would continue only as long as the quarterback lived up the highest standard of personal conduct. So Lurie’s lack of curiosity about what really happened in Virginia Beach the night of June 25 is astounding.

“I’m just basing it on the investigations exactly that there was no wrongdoing,” Lurie said. “We have been over this already.”

Really? We’ve been over it? When was that, exactly?

A little while earlier, Vick also declined to answer questions about that night.

“Any questions pertaining to football I will answer,” Vick said, “but any questions pertaining to what happened that night I won’t answer because I’m just trying to move forward. I feel like I’ve already answered those questions.”

This old dodge isn’t good enough. Not from Vick, not from Lurie, not from Andy Reid and not from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who played a shell game with the media a day before. If “the facts” establish that Vick is blameless and belongs in the NFL, then why is everyone so reluctant to reveal them?

At least they’re all consistent. A year ago, they promised us Vick was a changed man who understood that he had no margin for error now that he’d been released from prison and reinstated to the NFL.

A year later, they promise us Vick now is a changed man – really, no-fingers-crossed this time – who understands that he has no margin for error if he wishes to remain in the NFL.”

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